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EURESFUN


Integrated post-genomic approaches for the understanding, detection and prevention of antifungal drug resistance in fungal pathogens
EC contribution
: € 2.755.000
Duration
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/11/2005
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
Keywords
: fungal pathogens, antifungal drug, antifungal resistance, diagnostic
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHM-CT-2005-518199
Project web-site
: http://www.chuv.ch/imul/euresfun

Background:

The EURESFUN (EUropean RESistance FUNgal) network will utilize genomics-based integrated approaches to study antifungal resistance in relevant fungal pathogens (Candida, Aspergillus). This network will study distinct resistance mechanisms (target mutations, drug efflux, signal transduction, transcriptional activation, cell wall alterations, biofilm formation) all of which can contribute individually or in combination to antifungal resistance in clinical isolates. Using microarray strategies, systematic deletion/over-expression approaches, the network will also elucidate new resistance mechanisms. This approach will unravel potential novel targets for antifungal drug discovery, but also yield diagnostic tools and mutations suitable for the use in resistance monitoring and surveillance.


Problem:

According to the WHO data, infectious diseases represent the most common cause of death in the world (WHO). Among infectious diseases, fungal infections also take a prominent position, ranking for instance number 4 in infections of hospitalized patients acquiring microbial infections. The frequency of fungal infections has been steadily increasing in the human population worldwide over the past decades. Several fungal pathogens cause severe fungal infections in hospitals. Among them, the most important are Candida albicans (Fig. 1), C. glabrata and Aspergillus fumigatus (Fig.1). C. albicans accounts for more than 50% of all fungal infections, causing both superficial and disseminated infections, while C. glabrata infections account for 10 - 20% of the cases. Although A. fumigatus infections are less frequent, the clinical outcome is fatal in 80- 90% of the cases. C. albicans and C. glabrata infections are responsible for systemic infections in a significant proportion of cancer and transplant patients and over half of these infections are still fatal.


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